A universal basic income in Canada is more realistic than you think


Every democracy’s internal legitimacy is tied to how fair the residents of that country feel their society is or tries to be. The fairness of laws, the fairness of government generally, the mix of fairness and opportunity writ large across the entire economy, fairness in the workplace and fairness of the tax system—these all matter.

That’s why successful economically prosperous economies have a special duty to keep working at fairness and reducing the pathologies that poverty imposes in ways that deny opportunity, expands the bureaucratic state and widens the gaps between haves and have nots. And we’re seeing just how important this duty is: Recent electoral outcomes in the U.S. and Europe underline that, while perceived economic fairness is not an exclusive determinant of political temperament, it certainly does count. When unfairness is broadly perceived to be pervasive, extreme and simplistic solutions and political voices championing them usually gain strength.

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Nova Scotia advocates say now is the time for a universal basic income

Toronto Star

Advocates are calling on the provincial and federal governments to provide a basic personal income — something they say could be a major step toward eradicating poverty.

Basic Income Guarantee Nova Scotia (BIG-NS) made its case at Province House Wednesday, hosted by NDP MLA Lisa Roberts. The group asked government to study the feasibility of paying a guaranteed basic income to anyone living below the poverty line.

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Hamilton man gives back to community with a basic income floor to support him

James Collura is receiving a basic income through the Ontario Basic Income Pilot Program, in Hamilton. He has been using it in a way that serves his community. Journalist Roderick Benns interviews Collura on exactly how – and why – he is using his new income floor in this way. 

Benns: How did you find yourself in the position you were in so that you were able to begin receiving basic income?  

Collura: I studied economics at McMaster and graduated with a BA. Like most students in my program, I realized my education didn't exactly qualify me to be an economist or execute any valuable job-skill. I ended up working as a teller at a bank, where I found the most valuable aspect of my job was the personal interactions I had everyday. Meeting new characters, discovering their needs, witnessing their spending habits and lifestyles, and getting to know people from all walks of life. I had a big interest in the future of technology, because at my age, I need to anticipate what’s to come - the future of jobs in an automated world. At the bank, I realized my job was quickly becoming 'app-ified', and my top assignment was to convert customers to 'digital banking'.

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Register for the 2018 NABIG Congress, May 24-27 in Hamilton!

Register for the 2018 North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) Congress, May 24-27 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario!

Titled Basic Income: Bold Ideas, Practical Solutions for discussion of the idea of Basic Income, the 17th Annual NABIG Congress is a great opportunity to learn about the most recent thinking in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Europe on this important issue.

See the final Congress Program and posters for the three free public events - May 24 opening night, May 25 Mincome film premiere, and May 26 Artists for a Basic Income music and social night!

The 2018 NABIG Congress will run from Thursday May 24, 6:30pm, run all day on Friday May 25 and Saturday May 26 (with optional evening activities), and end at about noon on Sunday May 27 (with brief Basic Income Canada Network and US Basic Income Guarantee Network organizational meetings to follow, for those interested).

The major themes for the 2018 NABIG Congress are:

  1. The converging paths leading to basic income (e.g., health, human rights, automation, sustainability, democracy, etc.)
  2. Making basic income a reality, through pilots, policy, and public support.
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Ontario's bold basic income experiment

Huffington Post

Sherry Mendowegan has accomplished a lot in the past six months. The mother-of-two bought her first vehicle and graduated with her high school diploma in March.

"Next is my college, post-secondary, and then hopefully I get some work," she told HuffPost Canada.

Going to college would have been out of reach for Mendowegan even last year. But as a participant in Ontario's basic income pilot program, she and her husband, Dan, can now afford the tuition. She starts at Thunder Bay's Confederation College in September to study office administration.

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'My life has changed so much': One woman's experience with basic income

CBC News

Sherry Mendowegan says these days, "life is good." 

The 41-year-old mother of two, who lives in Thunder Bay, Ont., can't stop smiling as she describes the ways in which her life is different, since she was selected to be part of Ontario's basic income pilot project.

"My life has changed so much," she said, explaining that her family can now afford a car, and that she and her partner now have enough money to take their children out to enjoy recreational activities. 

What's more, Mendowegan, who recently earned her Grade 12 diploma, plans to attend college this fall. It's something that would have seemed impossible a year ago.

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No time for austerity

Basic Income Earth Network (This article originally ran in 2011)

I can’t believe the news. We are in the midst of the worst global depression in 70 years, and the governments of almost every major industrialized country are talking about austerity. They’re cutting government services; laying off public sector workers; cutting pay, pensions, and benefits for public employees—all in the name of austerity and balanced budgets.

This astounds me because we’ve been through it before. We’ve seen what works, and we know that austerity is not the way out of a major depression. Austerity makes depressions worse. To get out of a depression, the government needs to spend money—and lots of it. The lessons of history are clear, and the reading of history I’m going to discuss to make my point is not terribly controversial among economists. Let me explain.

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